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Monstrance

  • Place of origin:

    Haarlem

  • Date:

    1674 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver, partially gilded, decorated with white enamel, garnets, turquoises, rock crystal and pearl simulants.

  • Museum number:

    303-1874

  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 7, The Sheikha Amna Bint Mohammed Al Thani Gallery, case CA6

Physical description

Silver-gilt, repoussé and chased. On the foot are shields depicting the four Evangelists and the Doctors of the Church, together with the Transfiguration; the stem is decorated with cherubs and the body, which is flanked by angels, is chased with Biblical scenes. The monstrance is surmounted by a jewelled crown and cross guarded by bishops.

Place of Origin

Haarlem

Date

1674 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Silver, partially gilded, decorated with white enamel, garnets, turquoises, rock crystal and pearl simulants.

Marks and inscriptions

Marked with four marks on various parts of the monstrance:
A lion rampant in a shield-shaped punch, a crown above, the town mark of Haarlem
A vertical sword surrounded by four stars, in a shield-shaped punch with a crown above, the town mark of Haarlem
The letter 'M' in a rectangular punch, the date-letter of the Haarlem assay office for the year 1674
A point in the centre of a lozenge, the mark of the maker Jan van der Pille (c. 1665-1705)

Latin inscriptions around the outer rim of the foot which identify the symbols of the Evangelists (embossed in high relief) and the images of the Church Fathers (embossed in lower relief):
S[anctus] IOANNES
S[anctus] AMBROSIVS
S[anctus] MARCVS
S[anctus] GREGORIVS
S[anctus] MATTHAEVS
S[anctus] AVGVSTINVS
S[anctus] LVCAS
S[anctus] HIERONIMVS

Dimensions

Height: 101.5 cm Base to top of cross finial, Width: 41.5 cm From outer wing of left angel across to outer wing of right one, maximum width, Diameter: 31.4 cm Across widest part of the foot

Object history note

A monstrance is an object which unambiguously proclaims Catholic belief: it displays the consecrated wafer of unleavened bread (the Host), which Catholics believe, miraculously becomes the body of Christ during the Mass. Haarlem, the second largest Catholic community in the Northern Netherlands after Utrecht, had escaped the violence and destruction carried out by fanatical protestant reformers in 1578. The 1579 Union of Utrecht had guaranteed freedom of religious conscience for all, but Catholics in the United Provinces (of which Haarlem is a part) were still treated with suspicion, and practiced their religion with difficulty. Nothing is known of the circumstances behind the commission of this monstrance, but the scale of this piece suggests the failure of the Haarlem authorities to suppress catholic practices in the city, a failure reflected in the persistence of the Catholic religion elsewhere in the Provinces. Jan van der Pille (active c. 1665-1705), the Haarlem goldsmith who made the monstrance, made other pieces of Catholic silver as well as vessels for secular use.
The Museum purchased the monstrance from the Edinburgh goldsmiths and retailers Hamilton and Inches in 1874.

Descriptive line

Gilded silver, decorated with white enamel, garnets, turquoises, rock crystal and pearl simulants, North Holland (Haarlem), 1674, mark of Jan van der Pille.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Oman, Charles. The Golden Age of Dutch Silver. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1953.
Viegas Wesolowska, Katia. An insight into the craftsman's techniques. V&A Conservation Journal. Spring 2005, no. 49, pp. 17-19.
Citroen, Karel. Dutch goldsmiths' and silversmiths' marks and names prior to 1812. A descriptive and critical repertory. Leiden: Primavera Pers, 1993. ISBN 9074310079
Voet, E. Jr. Nederlandische Goud- en Zilvermerken 1445-1935. `S-Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoff, 1937.
Freedberg, David. 'Art and iconoclasm, 1525-1580. The case of the Northern Netherlands'. In: J. P. Filedt Kok, W. Halsema-Kubes and W. Th. Kloek, eds, Kunst voor de beeldenstorm: Noordnederlandse kunst 1525-1580. Catalogue of the exhibition held at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 13 September - 23 November, 1986. 's-Gravenhage: Staatsuitgeverij, 1986. ISBN 9012052114
van Nierop, Henk. 'Sewing the bailiff in a blanket: Catholics and the law in Holland'. In: Calvinism and Religious Toleration in the Dutch Golden Age, ed. by R. Po-Chia Hsia and Henk van Nierop. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002, pp. 102-111. ISBN:
Kooi, Christine. 'Paying off the sheriff: Strategies of Catholic toleration in Golden Age Holland', In: Calvinism and Religious Toleration in the Dutch Golden Age, ed. by R. Po-Chia Hsia and Henk van Nierop. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002, pp. 87-101. ISBN:
Mochizuki, Mia M. The Netherlandish Image after Iconoclasm, 1566-1672. Material Religion in the Dutch Golden Age. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008. ISBN:

Labels and date

Monstrance
1674

Central to the Catholic faith is the belief that aconsecrated wafer of unleavened bread (the host) becomes the body of Christ during the Mass. Sometimes the host is displayed in a monstrance, so that Catholics can meditate upon the miracle. Haarlem in the Dutch Republic, where this monstrance was made, was officially Protestant, and the authorities suppressed Catholic practices. Catholics there could worship the host only in secret.

Dutch Republic, now the Netherlands (Haarlem)

Mark of Jan van der Pille

Gilded silver, with enamel, garnets, turquoises, rock crystal and imitation pearls [09.12.2015]
Monstrance
1674
The belief that a consecrated wafer of unleavened bread (the Host) miraculously becomes the body of Christ during the Mass is central to the Catholic faith. Sometimes the wafer is displayed in a monstrance, so Catholics can meditate upon the miracle. Haarlem catholics adored the Host in secret. The city was officially Calvinist, and the authorities suppressed Catholic practices.
North Holland (Haarlem)
Made by Jan van der Pille
Silver-gilt, decorated with white enamel, garnets, turquoises, rock crystal and pearl simulants
Museum no. 303-1874
[2013]

Materials

Silver; Enamel; Turquoise; Garnet

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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